Apr 5, 2012; St. Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Mikko Koivu (9) celebrates a goal scored by forward Cal Clutterbuck (not pictured) during the third period against the Chicago Blackhawks at the Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Blackhawks 2-1 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

Minnesota Wild Will Suffer In NHL Lockout

 

Goal celebrations by WIld Captain Mikko Koivu will be in short supply without a new CBA. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

Minnesota Wild training camp is slated to open  this month, a moot point without a new CBA.  We’re now down to less than 10 days to the deadline with no talks scheduled between the NHLPA and the NHL.  Billionaires fighting with millionaires is how many characterize the negotiations. Once again we, the fans, are the biggest losers in all of this. This is the second lockout of the new millenium and the third under Commish Bettman. He thinks we’ll just come knuckling back through the turnstyles, money in hand like nothing has happened. For the most ardent fans this may be true, the casual fans not so much, fans in struggling markets even less.  An extended lockout could be the death knell for some franchises, mainly those in the southern markets who struggle to sell tickets in the best of times. I’ve always found it hard to get behind a NHL team that plays anywhere ice doesn’t occur naturally at some point of the year. An extended lockout could really hurt the Minnesota franchise. The Wild have built up a tremendous amount of excitement surrounding the 2012-13 season. Levels of excitement that haven’t been seen around the Xcel Energy Center since the giddy days of their run to the Western Conference Finals in 2003. The reported billion dollars plus in revenue the NHLPA and owners are redistributing will evaporate pretty quickly if the NHL has to take over a couple of more warm market franchises. The prospect of more teams in the same situation as the Coyotes does not bode well for competitive balance also.  A pissed off Team of 18000, who for the most part don’t care about the reason for the lockout, will start to lose the excitement and momentum the Wild have built this off season. The free agent signings of Parise and Suter with the related 4000 new season ticket sales, merchandise sales, and excitement generated will drop faster than the Sedin sisters after a good hit. The Wilds crop of rookies and prospects such as Granlund, Coyle, Hackett, Cuma, and Almond,  just to name a few will still play, most playing with  the Houston Aeros.  A lockout will clog up the system with guys who should be with the Wild playing in Houston, guys who should be in Houston still in Orlando with the Solar Bears and so on.   I think a message from the fans needs to be sent to the NHL. Something along the lines of a 1 game fan strike. Over a few days each home team opens the doors and no fans enter. That would send a message. Yes, I know that’s a little fantasy that would never happen. Some way, some how this CBA need’s to get done, sooner rather than later. During a lockout players lose money, team employees lose money, owners lose revenue, Donald Fehr loses money, but Gary Bettman still gets every penny of his 8 million dollar annual salary. There are no winners in a lockout (well maybe Bettman) only losers and one thing is for sure; Ticket prices are not going down.

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Tags: Bettman CBA Houston Aeros Minnesota Wild NHL Orlando Solar Bears Parise Suter

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